If you are a mom of a teen, the last thing you probably expect to hear is, “Hey mom… I’m pregnant.” It’s perfectly normal to be angry, overwhelmed, and not know what to say. In most situations, this isn’t something you anticipate. No matter how you respond, you may not get it perfectly right. The important thing is to express your love and help your daughter figure out what to do next.
Your daughter is still a teenager. While the consequences of her choices call for adult decision-making, she may not be emotionally mature enough to make decisions all on her own. She will be looking to you for guidance. Whatever choice she makes will have a profound effect on her and your family. The best thing you can do for her initially is to listen to her.
Communication is very important right now. You don’t want to say the wrong thing, which might cause your daughter to stop talking to you. Try to keep your own emotions in check and keep the conversation positive. Once the shock is over and you both have had time to calm down, you can talk more about what she wants to do.
How to Approach the Conversation With Your Daughter
You probably know your daughter better than anyone. How does she handle stressful situations and decision-making? You may already be aware of how much time she needs to process things.
What about her future? Is she still in high school? Did she have plans for college? Does she have an active social life? She has a lot of big decisions to make. Does she want to keep her baby, have an abortion, or is she thinking about adoption? She very well may not know what she wants to do right away. This is the time to let her think. No matter what choice she makes, there will be consequences that affect her entire life.
She needs to feel safe talking to you. If adoption is a choice she is considering, she needs to know you will support her. It’s a tough situation to be in, but let her know she has time to think and decide what she wants to do. Don’t rush her. Allow her to feel her feelings and make decisions that are best for her.
Your daughter has a few choices she can make. She can keep the baby, have an abortion, or place the baby up for adoption. Pregnant teens often do not think about adoption. They may never have considered this option.
This is a sensitive discussion to have with your daughter, and she needs to feel supported. Some teens consider abortion because they think it will be the easiest option. But she may not be fully aware that women who have abortions often deal with post-abortion trauma and depression long after they have an abortion. While ultimately, the decision is your daughter’s to make, it might be helpful for her to talk to a pregnancy counselor to help her decide what she wants to do.
Unplanned Pregnancy Counseling
There are a few reasons that a pregnancy counselor might be helpful. It may be hard for your daughter to separate her feelings from what other people want her to do. Talking to a counselor can help her to make an informed decision without coercion from her boyfriend, friends, or family.
A pregnancy counselor will present all of the options so she can decide what is best for her and her baby. The counselor can provide some additional emotional support as she considers what she wants to do with her life now that she is pregnant.
What If She’s Considering Adoption?
If your daughter is considering adoption, you may be relieved to know that adoption isn’t like it used to be. As a grandparent, you might be worried that you will never see the baby again. But closed adoptions are mostly a thing of the past.
If your daughter chooses an open adoption, she will still be a part of the baby’s life. Although she won’t be the caregiver or parent of her baby, she will always be able to contact her child and receive updates on him or her. Depending on how open the adoption is, she may be able to visit and talk to her child as he or she grows older.
It’s Her Decision to Make
No matter what choice she makes, encourage her to make a plan. Has she seen a doctor? If not, encourage her to set up her prenatal appointments.
If she is considering adoption, let her make contact with an adoption agency such as Lifetime Adoption. There is no cost to her, and she can create an adoption plan she feels good about.
She must be responsible for the plan, even if you want to step in and do it all for her. This way, she has some privacy during the process and feels in control of her own decisions. Adoption is an especially big decision for her. So by contacting the agency herself, she won’t be left feeling like someone else was making her choices for her.
How Can You Stay Involved in the Adoption Plan?
Even though your daughter needs to make her own decisions, you can stay a part of the adoption planning. Talk to your daughter. Since you have probably never experienced anything like this before, you might want to talk to a counselor yourself.
Lifetime Adoption offers counseling and support to birth grandparents. Counselors provide you with a safe place to process your feelings. After doing so, you’ll be able to be present and give your child positive and unconditional support.
A counselor can help reassure you that your daughter is making a good choice. Your grandbaby will still be a part of your life. Many birth grandparents plan visits, share photos, and receive updates from the adoptive family.
One birth grandmother described her experience well: “It’s having the best of both worlds. We visit with the adoptive parents, and she knows I’m her grandmother. Open adoption also gave my daughter a chance at going to college, something she couldn’t have done if she had chosen to parent.”
Consider choosing adoption as the answer to an unplanned pregnancy. As a young expectant mother, there are many choices. Through adoption, many young women have found a wonderful way to give their babies and themselves the best possible life. It has provided them with a chance to explore their dreams as well as a future with a plan.